Game 39: Chicago at Toronto pregame

Another element to the Blue Jays’ sudden influx of starting piching is that the club has some potential trading chips. If Toronto is still contending deeper into the season, the organization now has some arms that have performed well on the big league stage that could possibly be used to add in other areas.

Consider that behind ace Roy Halladay, the 2010 rotation is projected to also include Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and one of Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil, David Purcey, Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond and Brad Mills. Now, Robert Ray (today’s starter) is in the picture and GM J.P. Ricciardi constantly mentions prospect Marc Rzepcynski. And, those are just the leading candidates.

With only four spots open, that’s a lot of arms to have in the mix.

“Some of these guys, if you don’t keep them, you can use them if you need somebody during the season,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “If you don’t have enough room for them, maybe you trade them and get somebody you want. They’re always good to have. There’s a lot of need for pitchers these days.

“You have some people you can do it with now.”

Yet another piece to this complicated rotation puzzle to keep in mind.

Today’s lineups:

*Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-19)

1. Scott Podsednik, LF
2. Chris Getz, 2B
3. Jermaine Dye, RF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Alexei Ramirez, SS
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Josh Fields, 3B
9. Brent Lillibridge, CF

Starter: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (24-14)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Jose Bautista, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Robert Ray (0-1)

*Carlos Quentin was a late scratch from Chicago’s lineup with a sore left heel

~JB

10 Comments

So if the Jays do have 2 or 3 trading chips come July what do you think the need is? I think a slugging 1st baseman such as Adrien Gonzalez would turn our line up from good to great.

I don’t agree with having Romero down in triple A when Robert Ray is still with the team. I’d rather see the younger, better Romero in the rotation instead and if Richmond doesn’t get back on track soon then I want Janssen in there.
I still don’t understand why people are waiting for them to play the AL east. The fact is they have a 2 game lead on the Red Sox right now. Go out and enjoy it for the time being. I’ve been to 2 games so far and had a great time watching them, more so than last year (one of them was a loss). They have kids with good potential (Cecil, Snider, Lind, Romero etc.) and are fun to watch. What more can people ask for ? If they didn’t play any contenders from the Al east until mid-june would you wait untill then ?
Please note i’m not directing the comments towards anybody in particular, i’m just saying.

No proven Major League players, in this case pitchers, should lose their jobs due to injury — ever! This will only make the players less likely to report problems or discomfort for fear of losing their jobs. That could lead to unnecessary injuries, more of which the Blue Jays can’t afford! Ricciardi’s mind games with the players aren’t going to help the ball club. When Ray and Cecil were called up, Ricciardi stated that they weren’t Major League ready, but were filling in until the proven pitchers were healthy. After just a couple of starts for Ray and Cecil, Ricciardi is changing his mind?! What about Romero’s successful starts before his injury? What about Litsch’s 2008 success? That’s great that Cecil is enjoying some success, mostly due to first time around the league syndrome, but he was performing poorly in AAA Las Vegas due to inconsistency and immaturity. The difference now is that Cecil has better catchers, fielders and relievers to back him up. Hopefully, Ricciardi is just blowing smoke to the media and setting up future trades, or trying to get the Blue Jays the increased media coverage that they lack, especially in the states. Romero, Janssen and Litsch deserve to be back in the majors as soon as their rehab is complete. Janssen looks to be ready now. Romero and Litsch might take a little longer to rehab, but they belong in Toronto ASAP. There’s a pennant at stake, experience matters, and every game counts!

I agree with Promom, none of the players should lose their spot due to injury! Cecil, Tallet, and Ray have all done amazing jobs filling in for the injured starters, but they should make way for Jesse and Romero again. Now if these guys can’t step up, we know we have a bunch of arms to fill in with.
With that, it was nice to see the Jays not give up on this game today and come back to give Ray his first big league win!
Go Jays.

I tend to agree with you guys, but you have to remember that Jesse Litsch is the only pitcher of the bunch with more than a cup of coffee in the rotation, so he may have dibs on a job when he is ready. As for the rest, there is something to be said for seeing how far the horse will take you before you jump off.
I doubt if this is the rotation they will end the year with, but right now they are on a pace to win 103 games, and it’s hard to argue with success. It’s going to be an interesting time. Hey! Another reality show! Survivor Baseball! Who stays, and who gets voted off the mound?

I’m usually all for tradition in baseball, but I don’t agree with this seemingly sacrosanct notion that a player can’t lose his job due to injury. This is a team game and it’s the responsibility of the manager and GM to the fans, but also the other players, that at any given moment you field whatever combination of players appears to give you the best chance of winning. So as JP says, if players are hot, don’t mess with that. Promom, you say every game matters – hello, have you not seen some of the starts put in by Tallet, Cecil and Ray of late? Don’t worry, these games are counting and we’re winning. Now all that said, I agree that when weighing situations like these you have to also consider at what stage in their careers each player is at. For instance, there are guys that we’ve got a lot of money committed to and they deserve to show what they can do once they’re back from injury. Experience does by you some loyalty. But as yerouttaheah correctly points out, the only guy with a guaranteed place as a starter this year was Litsch, so he out to have a place when he gets back. But I wouldn’t leave him in indefinitely if he came back and struggled. No one has a guaranteed job, especially with he only having a few years experience. As for Romero or any of the other guys who won a job in spring, that’s the breaks. Just like when guys went down in spring training, which enabled some of the other guys to get in, if you go down during the season, you don’t necessarily get your job back. Let’s be objective here and put our best players forward at any given time.

Jordan is right. The Jays have many trade chips now. We need to keep 2 extra starters in case either or both Marcum and McGowan don’t return to full health. But the Jays now have too many starters and not many spots left. Tallet needs to go back into the pen to make room for Romero. He filled in admirably, but relievers can have short term success in the rotation, but rarely is it long term. See Mark Hendrickson, Brett Tomko or Chan Ho Park. Relief pitchers are good, that’s why they are in the big, but the difference between starters and relievers is merely consistancy. The 4 pitchers that should be following Halladay are the ones that are on the trading block. They should be being showcased for trades. Purcey and Romero would probably draw the most interest from other teams. Richmond has earned his spot. # 5 could be Ray until Litsch comes back. I still don’t understand using Jansen as a starter unless the Jays are looking to increase his value for a possible trade. Rzepcynski and Castro have been tearing it up in the minors. Their stats are top drawer.

Good to see Robinzon Diaz taking advantage of his AB in Pittsburg.

When will Snider start seeing some AB against LHP? I think it is starting to wear on his confidence. If the Jays are going to make a run in 2010, Snider needs to be ready to face south paws.

Conversely, it’s great to see Overbay out of the line-up. Millar should start seeing time against righties soon given that he is playing much better than Overbay.

Never mind 2010, the Jays are in the middle of taking a serious run at 2009. And if the coaches feel that the best thing now for the team is to sit Snider against lefties. Also if there is one thing Cito understands is hitters, so Snider will be fine.

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